Thursday, March 6, 2014

Marching Through Georgia, or Vice-Versa

There are two screwy ideas in opposition to each other making the rounds.  The first is "American exceptionalism," which is almost always undefined when it's used, and most of the people who use it turn out to not have a clear definition in mind after all. But some of the more belligerent liberals and neocons seem to use it to mean that whenever we make an aggressive military move, it's by definition a good thing. Above criticism.  The opposite thinking is usually called "moral equivalence," and is applied to the old useful idiots who used to counter every criticism of the Soviets or other communist powers with the assertion that Americans do the same thing all the time.

Both these modes of thought are in error because they're ideology-based, not reality-based. Clearly, many of our military ventures have been unjustified and downright wrong, while others have indeed been proper and praiseworthy. On the other hand, some of our actions were equivalent to Soviet actions, and some were not.

So you have to judge on a case by case basis.  Right now, since Putin isn't a communist, the liberals and neocons are working together to make sure everything he does is cast in as bad a light as possible. Every day I hear some idiot likening the Ukraine situation to a few years back, "when Russia invaded Georgia."  The hell of it is, Russia didn't invade.  Georgia did. If you doubt that, Steve Sailer explains it all HERE and HERE. Ukraine is considerably more complicated than the Georgia thing, though, and about all I can say is that if I were Putin, I'd want control of the Crimea, too.

Jerry Pournelle, who knows stuff, says this:

The great fear of the Cold Warriors – at least all of my colleagues and those I associated with – was that the USSR would destroy the world in its death throes. Sun Tzu said you should build golden bridges for your enemies. Machiavelli tells us never to do an enemy a small injury. One must strive to keep the respect of your enemies, and never confuse your real objectives with speculative dreams.
And so, when the USSR dissolved, and Yeltsin essentially ended the rule of Communism and the Party and the Nomenklatura, and tens of thousands of nuclear weapons were dismantled, there was some euphoria. A few of us worried, particularly since Yeltsin’s influence and power began to melt. Putin emerged: a KGB Colonel who restored the established church and made it clear he put Russian national interests ahead of all else: a Tsarist without a Tsar.
And there was opportunity for the United States to play the realist balance of power game in this suddenly created New World with Russia, China, Europe, as players, and the United States as the sole superpower. It was possible to build a world on that.
And then came Clinton and Madeleine Albright, and the Balkan crisis. Of all places where the US had few interests the Balkans ranked quite high: yet because we had this great army we had to do something with it, and liberal ideology prevailed. We intervened in a territorial dispute in Europe, and we did so to the chagrin and humiliation of Russia. It came close to a shooting engagement. And then our air power dropped bridges over the Danube. We wrecked the economy of the lower Danube to no gain of our own, thus infuriating the pan-Slavic Russians and leaving a lasting grudge that will not go away. Instead of looking for common interests with Russia, we chose hostility for its own sake with no national interest of ours at stake, and chose sides in the ancient blood feuds of Christian and Moslem inhabitants of the Balkans. We chose to bomb Christian Slavs, thus making enemies of pro-Slavic Russia.
We sowed the wind and we are reaping the whirlwind; and now we are supposed to ‘rescue’ Crimea from Russia? It was crazy to intervene in the Balkans. It is stark raving madness to contemplate intervention in the Crimea. Perhaps we can send The Light Brigade?

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